Winter Weather Travel: Driving 101

I had winter weather driving bootcamp a day ago–I left Chicago at 5:30 a.m. their time, 6:30 a.m. Indianapolis’  to make the trek home to try to beat a snowstorm. Well a separate storm had hit there that night, so my entire trip home was snow covered. They did a great job there plowing and salting there as it wasn’t too major of a storm. However, the entire trip I was driving in snow. It began on the highway with patches of snow.

The closer I got to Indiana, the worse it got. I started my drive at 55 mph at the fastest, but that wasn’t for long. Shortly enough I was comfortable at 40. Then 35-30.  But once I got to Lebanon, Ind., from there to Indianapolis it was 20-25. Slow. A three hour drive took about six and a half.

There’s the secret folks, I drove slow. It was boring as hell and with only three hours of sleep I was exhausted and just wanted to be home.  But if I didn’t drive that fast I would’ve slid off. Granted I know it could’ve been me. One bad spot no matter what the speed can send you off the road, but I feel I reduced my chances by making an unpopular decision. Plus I stayed far back from the people in front of me so if I needed to slow down I wouldn’t have to touch my brakes.

Also, every time a semi passed me I made sure my windshield wipers were full speed as their splash on my car was blinding.

As I drove through the treacherous conditions, I saw several slide-offs, jack knife semis and accidents.  At one point saw two semis jack knife next to each other but somehow were incredibly lucky and I’m sure they drove off. But once I got to about Zionsville, Ind. (google map these places in comparison to downtown Indianapolis), everyone else was going as slow as me, which helped make me feel better about going ridiculously slow. I know I over-do it sometimes; I spun out in the middle of a busy road a few years ago and haven’t driven the same since in winter weather.

But the secret: go slow. It’s awful. I know. Invest in something really good to listen to on your radio and buckle in for the ride. You’re doing yourself and your fellow drivers a favor.

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